Discovery World-Building versus Revision World Triage

December 13, 2012

I’ve figured out that I skipped an important step in the ‘Revise my Short Story’ stuff I’ve been doing – the World Triage lesson, where you take inventory of all of the world elements – sets and props and gimmicks and doors and philosophies and even more categories that she’s come up with. You need to figure out what you’re using in the story to figure out if what you’ve created is the best world to fit the story you want to tell, and so that you can use those elements consistently in the rewrite.

Unfortunately, I think I’m at the point where I need to go to bed and continue the lesson tomorrow, because I’ve strayed from Triage and have caught myself doing Discovery World-Building – just looking for world elements that seem cool to know about this corner of Arion, despite the fact that I can’t see any possible way they fit into either the current draft or the revision outline that I already wrote in the Monastery. And I really do need to keep myself to the stuff that’s relevant, or I could be world-building until New Year’s!

So that’s something that I’ll have to keep in mind when I get on the bus tomorrow and try to pick up where I left off – only include the stuff that’s above the water level on the iceberg.

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Developing a novel idea.

August 23, 2010

So – I was surprised by a plot bunny, or possibly a small pack of them, walking home from work last week. Well, I don’t walk all the way home – I walk about two and a half kilometers into downtown Burlington, and catch the Hamilton number eleven bus from there, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the idea.

And possibly I shouldn’t even call this bunny a ‘plot bunny’, though that’s the usual term in some of my writing circles, because the idea that I’ve got a the moment – well, there are a few plot elements, but mostly what I’ve got is the beginning of a sci-fi world setting, and a few character notions, and how an adventure for them begins, and the vaguest idea of where it might take them.

So, out of this – I’m not quite sure where go next to flesh the idea out before I start writing – though I’m sure I do want to put a bit more thought into it before I start. This is a part of the process that I’ve never really thought about in much detail before – I suppose I keep the notion on ‘the back burner’ of my head for a little while to see what develops next. It would be interesting to try to structure this into an outline in a more formal way, though, but I’m not sure where to start.

Do I start with the characters I already know about, interviewing them with questionnaires, and trying to figure out who else might be a person of interest in the story? Worldbuild like crazy? (Especially important since the idea involves several alternate Earths.) Try to segment the plot, breaking it up into beginning middle and end, or come up with a plot structure like the Beat sheet and fill in the blanks?

If you have any thoughts or especially useful links on this topic, please comment away! I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.


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